March 28, 2012 FEA Europe Update

1. Transfer Information
2. Area Directors' Travels
3. Traveling for Spring Break ?
4. Child Abuse Prevention Month
5. Recertification
6. Red Cross
7. Running Out of Leave ?
8. Autism Awareness Month
9. Social Media
10. Mark Your Calendars
11. Faculty Representative Spokesperson (FRS)
12. FEA Europe Officer Elections
13. BoD Meeting
14. Honors Music Fest 2012
15. U.S. Citizens Abroad Tax Information
16. Titanic
17. Update

1. Transfer Information -- I attended and helped with the transfer program in Arlington last week. It is a very intense process which requires lots of checking and double checking. When I left I felt that we were about 35 to 40 percent done, but being a neophyte that could be off. Debra Degalis, the Pacific Area Director, is still there and reports that they might have to cut it off soon due to the fact that they are reaching the ceiling as to the amount of money budgeted for transfers this year. Still, I know that in the time that I was there many people were placed. The report I got also indicates that at this point they are focusing on making sure that all excesses are placed. There is no indication as of yet as to when notices will be sent out. The one thing that I can say for sure is that the whole process is fair and open and I commend those there still working on it.

2. Area Directors' Travels -- Between counting ballots, attending the BoD meeting, and helping with the transfer program I was away for 20 days. As a result I am staying close to home this week. Next week I will be in Wiesbaden on April 3 for the Area JCC where Lisa will join me. After that I hope to arrange some school visits since I will already be that far from home.

3. Traveling for Spring Break? - For those of you traveling during the upcoming Spring Break, here are some travel tips. Make sure you have copies of all your passports and other important documents stored separately from the originals when you travel. Make sure you have up-to-date contact information in your wallet or purse in the event of an accident or sudden illness, etc. You may want to include local (European) contact information as well as stateside contacts. It is also a good idea to let a colleague know your travel plans and contact numbers in case of emergency. And try to avoid areas with active volcanoes !! But, should you find yourself ‘stuck' in an airport then the guide that you can find here might prove valuable.

4. Child Abuse Prevention Month - In the early 1980s, Congress resolved that the week of June 6-12, 1982, should be designated as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week, in commitment to identifying and implementing solutions to child abuse. The following year, in 1983, April was proclaimed the National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

5. Recertification - A reminder about your DoDDS certification: All educators must be recertified every six years. The basic requirements for Recertification are: Educators must complete six semester hours of undergraduate or graduate level course work taken at a U.S. regionally accredited educational institution after the date the last DoDEA certificate was issued. 
This link is the web page for DoDEA concerning recertification

6. Red Cross -- Many of us will be traveling over the course of the next two weeks. Although we don't like to think about it an emergency can happen at any time. Attached is information from the American Red Cross as to what to do in such an event. It might be worth taking a copy with you on your travels.

7. Running Out of Leave? Unfortunately, due to illness, family emergencies, or other issues, sometimes teachers find themselves running out of leave. For those teachers, there are two options of which they should be aware. One is Advanced Leave. According to the regulation (DS 5630.4) up to 30 days of educator leave can be approved by management when an employee has no more accumulated leave. In other words, you can borrow against leave for future years' employment. Such advances are subject to subsequent earnings of leave or repayment upon separation for any leave advanced but not earned.

The second option is to apply for the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program. The VLTP permits Federal civilian employees to donate leave to other civilian employees who are experiencing medical or family medical emergencies. An employee who has a medical or family medical emergency that is likely to require the employee's absence from duty for a prolonged period of time and result in a loss of income due to unavailability of paid leave, may apply for donations of leave from other employees. These are the requests that you may sometimes see for donations of leave. Teachers can only donate from their APL days.

One further note: Any employee taking LWOP for an extended period should talk to the District HR concerning using interspersed leave to insure that all benefits and entitlements continue.

For questions or further information about leave issues, please contact your District HR.

8. Autism Awareness Month -- April has also been designated as Autism Awareness Month. It is a condition that affects more and more of our students every year. Learn basic information about autism at the Autism Speaks website and The Autism Program (TAP) of Illinois site.

9. Social Media -- While in the States recently I came across an article from the New York Post. It addresses the problems that teachers in New York City have been facing when ‘friending' their students. Take this as a word of caution but be aware that some of our teachers in Europe have run in to some issues over this very thing.

10. Mark Your Calendars -
April 1 -- 30 - Autism Awareness Month
April 1 - 30 -- Child Abuse Prevention Month
April 8 -- Easter Sunday
April 9-12 -- Spring Break
May 6-12 -- Teacher Appreciation Week
May 8 - National Teacher Day
May 9 -- National School Nurse Day

11. Faculty Representative Spokesperson (FRS) -- It is the time of the year again when schools need to be thinking about choosing their FRS for school year 2012/2013. Normally this is completed in May. Current FRS's will be provided with the SOP for such elections that was adopted by the EAC. Please note that most of what is in the SOP are recommendations.

12. FEA Europe Officer Elections -- Since this is my first Update since the ballots were counted, I want to congratulate all those who were elected to positions in the recent elections. Also a special thank you to everyone who took the time and made the effort to run regardless of the outcome. The more members who look to play an active part in FEA then the stronger our organization becomes.

13. BoD Meeting -- Our Spring Board of Directors' Meeting was held at NEA Headquarters in Washington the week of March 12 - 16. During the week, we met with a variety of officials from the NEA, including NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, as well as an afternoon meeting with Ms. Fitzgerald, and other DoDEA officials. We presented a number of questions about issues to DoDEA management and are looking forward to hearing more from them on those issues. In a time of constant communication by e-mail and phone, face to face meetings are still invaluable. Our BoD works very well together to address problems, look for solutions, seek out resources and assistance, and to serve our members.

14. Honors Musical Fest 2012 -- A reminder that the annual Honors Musical Festival will be held this year on April 5, 2012 at 7;00 p.m. at the Wiesbaden Kurhaus Concert Hall. DoDEA students from all over Europe will be performing. Tickets are free and may be reserved in advance until April 3 from Tickets not claimed by 6:50 will be open to the public at that time. It may be difficult for many of you to attend in person it can also be viewed at I attended for the first time last year and it is an exceptional evening, highlighting all that is good about our students. Thanks to Hope Matthews for this information and the attachment.

15. U.S. Citizens Abroad Tax Information -- Attached is information from the IRS for all of us living outside of CONUS for filing our 2011 Income Tax. It includes deadlines, forms, addresses, and other useful information. No one likes to think about it but the filing deadline is now only three weeks away.,,id=97324,00.html

16. Titanic -- April 15 is the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster. It is amazing to me how much interest there still is in this event, and not limited to adults. Students when presented with this topic are extremely interested at all ages. I gave my 8 year nephew some Titanic gifts this Christmas, including a Titanic anniversary shirt and he was thrilled. If you want more info that you could also share with students you can find it here:

17. Update - The next Update is scheduled to be Lisa's on April 11. However, we will both be traveling at that time so there could be some change in that. Please know that if there is any breaking news that we will get it out immediately.
. Alex

Alex Veto

FEA Europe Area Director

Tel: 0160 2388051